Why Is Under Armour Actually Excited About Nike Matching Their Sneaker Deal Offer To Kevin Durant?
Late last month, Under Armour made a strong offer—a very strong offer—to Kevin Durant and asked him to leave Nike and join their company in order to start his own line of Under Armour basketball sneakers. And according to sources close to KD, he came very close to doing it. Under Armour was offering him more than $250 million to join their company, so that shouldn’t come as a total surprise. But still, it’s pretty amazing that one of the most famous basketball players in the entire world was interested in leaving one of the most established sneaker brands in the entire world for a company that’s just now starting to break into the world of basketball sneakers.
With that in mind, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank isn’t all that upset that KD ultimately chose to stay with Nike. Obviously, he would have loved to land KD. But during a recent interview with Bloomberg TV, he said that he’s just happy that KD even considered his offer. That in and of itself is a win for Under Armour, at least in his eyes.
“We wanted to send a message to every athletic director, to every president of every team club, to every league commissioner,” he said. “If you have a deal, there’s no deal too big for us.”
That’s a great way of looking at things. And while we don’t entirely love the fact that Plank later said that he took joy in Nike spending about $150 million more than they planned to spend on signing KD—that part seemed petty—we do like what Under Armour is doing right now. Rather than simply signing up a bunch of mediocre NBA, NFL, and MLB players to shoe deals, they’re swinging for the fences and trying to prove that they’re for real when it comes to sneakers. So even though they didn’t land KD, they won simply by convincing him to consider their deal. It’ll help them land superstars in the future and make other athletes, schools, and entire sports consider Under Armour for endorsement deals.
Do you think that Under Armour came out of the KD situation looking good? Or do you still think they lost by failing to sign him in the end?